Cincinnati Flashback: Roger Federer wins title and moves closer to Rafael Nadal



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Cincinnati Flashback: Roger Federer wins title and moves closer to Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer claimed the fourth Cincinnati crown in one of the toughest challenges in his successful Ohio campaigns, defeating Mardy Fish 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 40 minutes in 2010! After conquering the Australian Open, it was the season's second title for Roger, losing some tight encounters in the previous months, including the quarter-final defeats to Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

After this Cincinnati triumph, Roger's year turned to a more positive direction, reaching the US Open semi-final and winning Stockholm, Basel and the ATP Finals for the year-end no. 2 spot. The Swiss had to play three matches before the final clash.

Two of those were completed encounters, with Denis Istomin retiring in the opening set and Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrawing due to an injury. Nonetheless, Federer needed everything he had in his arsenal to emerge as a winner against Mardy, ousting the American for the sixth time in seven meetings after losing the previous one in Indian Wells 2008 in straight sets.

It was Roger's 63rd ATP crown that moved him closer to Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras, also tying Andre Agassi's record of 17 Masters 1000 titles and standing one behind Rafael Nadal. The American fired 17 aces after landing only 56% of the first serve in, saving four out of five break points to stay in touch with the multiple champion.

Federer was the better player on both the first and second serve, saving the only break point he gave to Fish and prevailing with a late break in the decider's ninth game that secured the fourth trophy in Ohio in the last six years.

Both players hit more unforced errors than winners, and Roger was a more aggressive figure on the court, firing more direct points and rushing to the net more often than Mardy.

Roger Federer claimed the fourth Cincinnati title in 2010 over Mardy Fish.

Thanks to his serve, the American had a slight lead in the shortest rallies, but Federer earned the victory in the mid-range exchanges, constructing them more efficiently to cross the finish line first.

Fish had to play against a break chance already in the third game, saving it with a service winner and erasing another after Roger's weak forehand that could have moved him in front. After nine deuces and almost 15 minutes, Mardy finally brought the game home to avoid an early setback, with both serving well in the following five games to stay locked up at 4-4.

A few minutes later, Federer created another break chance but was denied by Mardy's ace down the T line. We saw the first deuces in the Swiss' games at 4-5, but Fish could not earn break chances, having to think about defending his game a few minutes later and landing an ace to fend off the danger and secure a tie break.

The American moved 4-3 ahead after a deep return and stayed in front only for a couple of moments before Roger pulled the mini-break back instantly with a superb forehand down the line shot. Federer moved in front with another forehand winner.

However, it was not to be for him in the opener, losing the following two points on serve to fall 6-5 behind and allowing Fish to clinch it with a service winner after grueling 67 minutes. Mardy had a colossal chance to move a set and a break up when he created a break opportunity at 2-2 in set number two, wasting it with a terrible forehand from a well-constructed attack that could have brought him closer to the finish line.

Roger held with a service winner after three deuces, and nothing could separate them by the end of the set, setting up another tie break with all the pressure on Federer's side of the net. In a manner of a true champion, Roger claimed the breaker 7-1, sealing it with an ace to send the encounter into a decider after two hours of play.

The first deuce in the final set came in the sixth game when Federer held after a service winner before securing the crucial break when Mardy netted a backhand at 4-4 for the only triumphant return game. Serving for the crown, Federer held at 30 in game ten after Fish's backhand error to celebrate his fourth Cincinnati title since 2005, the toughest out of seven he claimed.